Helen Rowe Allen photo

Helen Rowe Allen

Business Owner, Lawyer, Educator
I’ve lived in the Uptown District since 1976. I’ve attended dozens of Uptown Planners meetings over the years. I’ve served on state and local boards and commissions. I believe the Uptown District should be an UPTOWN FOR ALL, an Uptown that values neighborhood character and is safe, accessible, affordable and business friendly. High Priced High-Rises are NOT the answer.

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John Bertsch

I’ve worked, owned businesses, socialized and owned and rented homes in Uptown for almost 30 years. Some of you may recognize me as the builder of Meshuggah Shack, the bright green coffee bar in the heart of Mission Hills. Prior to the Shack, I built live/work homes in Hillcrest and single-family homes in Mission Hills.

Our community needs fresh voices and diverse backgrounds to meet the challenges facing Uptown today. I will bring my skills to advocate for:

  • Greater mobility options on our city streets;
  • Increased housing options for both homeowners and renters;
  • Public amenities that allow for aging in place;
  • And encouraging projects that make Uptown more diverse. More vital. And an even better place to live, work and socialize.

I need YOUR vote to make this vision of Uptown a reality.

Thank you! And I look forward to working for you as a member of Uptown Planners.

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Marc Bielas

Hi everyone, I’m Marc Bielas — I was born and raised in San Diego and have loved learning about and contributing to our city since I was a kid. I studied Architecture and Computer Science at Yale, Urbanism at Parsons and Real Estate at Harvard. After university I worked on smart city projects on the East Coast, utilizing technology to create more accessible and livable communities.

I’m very passionate about contributing to the future of our city and neighborhood and for the past three years I have been running a company focused on creating higher quality, more affordable housing across San Diego, starting in Uptown. I have been joining in on the Uptown Planners meetings for the last year and am looking forward to furthering my engagement and representing everyone as a member of the Uptown Planning Board.
With your vote I am looking forward to pushing for our neighborhood to constantly improve and provide more options and opportunities for all of our neighbors. Thanks for your support!

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Gloria Brattich

Gloria is a San Diego native who believes in the value of strong communities, getting to know her neighbors, and being civically engaged. She returned to San Diego to earn her masters degree in biology at UCSD, and has been proud to call Mission Hills home for the past three years. Gloria loves supporting our wonderful local businesses, enjoying our open spaces, and attending the community events that make our area special. If elected, she looks forward to contributing to the friendly, inclusive, and collaborative spirit as we shape the future of our community together.

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Mary Brown

Mary Brown was raised in Mission Hills. She attended neighborhood schools and graduated from SDSU with an Accounting degree. She has two grown sons who also attended neighborhood schools. Mary has worked on the boards of several community organizations and enjoys working as a group for the common good.

Mary supports a safer walking and biking environment, historic preservation, and thoughtful development. As a longtime resident, Mary has seen many changes in the Uptown Community. Some good and some not so good. As a longtime resident and homeowner, Mary is committed to an “Uptown for All.” She will represent the voices of all Uptown residents, business owners and property owners.

Christopher Cole

BA Stanford University, graduate work law and business administration University of California and Pepperdine respectively.
Managed Title Insurance and Real Estate companies and developed medical office buildings.
Has served on several non profit boards.
A thirty seven year resident of Middletown and would be its only representative on Uptown Planners.
Will judge each project on its merits and listen to the entire Uptown community as espoused by UPTOWN FOR ALL. Will not impose his vision on your neighborhood or commercial district. Will be privileged to listen and serve.

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Roy Dahl

I was on the Uptown Planners board during the previous plan update, and I am currently serving as chair of the Hillcrest Focused Plan amendment. I am also currently the president of the Uptown Community Parking District. As a mathematician who designs and evaluates vehicle routing algorithms, I understand the impact of infrastructure on everyday life. New development can be encouraged, but should have the infrastructure needed to support it, including appropriate parking. I also value historic preservation and feel we should support important institutions that includes the historic role that Hillcrest plays in the gay community. I believe in keeping an open mind, compromising, and bridging the gap between the needs of residents, businesses, and others. I take seriously the task of representing this diverse community.

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Nevo Magnezi

My fellow Uptown community members — my name is Nevo Magnezi. I am an Engineering researcher at UCSD and also volunteer for BikeSD. I am running for Uptown Planners because I love that much of our neighborhood is walkable, bikeable, and transit-accessible, and that there is a variety of jobs, homes, and retail available to us, not to mention our adjacency to Balboa Park.

Though our community offers so much, I see opportunities for us to make it better. As a Hillcrest renter, I can attest to the rising housing costs in San Diego. While our community has begun to address this crisis, we must continue to ensure that underutilized buildings and lots are transformed into a diversity of homes and businesses, to serve the many folks who want to live here.

With transportation being one of the leading sources of household debt, 55% of city GHG being from transportation, and US traffic fatalities climbing, we can help solve these pressing issues by ensuring that our transportation infrastructure is safe, sustainable, and gets people where they want to go effectively.

Uptown has made so much progress in the past few years. I hope to ensure that our community becomes more livable for generations to come.

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Stuart McGraw

Born and raised in Uptown, I’m familiar with the community visions and long term community values. If elected, I’ll be the only board member living in University Heights.
I advocate for public amenities like a new dog park, more trees, community centers and bicycle/pedestrian safety. I will also view each project on its merits, with an open mind.
You can count on me to listen to all of the residents and business owners in the Uptown community, and will always put your interests first.
I support the approach of Uptown For All, because everyone has different needs and everyone in the community deserves to be heard. Email me: uptown@stumcgraw.com

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Mary McKenzie

Mary McKenzie is a 20-year Hillcrest resident who has served on the Hillcrest Town Council Board for seven years. Mary believes that there is no cookie-cutter model of urban development; each of Uptown’s neighborhoods deserves to have its historic character respected and preserved while promoting a truly livable environment: reasonable building heights, more park space, increased commitment to AFFORDABLE housing, and further efforts to ensure pedestrian safety and provide accessibility for our disabled neighbors. Mary is a political science professor and has a J.D. from USD.

Soheil Nakhshab photo

Soheil Nakhshab

I grew up in San Diego, I had the good fortune of going through the public school system starting with grade school up through University where I attended San Diego State.  My formal education is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering which I paired up with my abilities as an Architect and Developer.  I am very passionate about my community.  Using my education and work experience are great tools to help better our community.  For the past 4 years I have been an active board member, these last 2 years I had the privilege of serving as the Chair for Uptown Planners.  With your vote I look forward to continuing as the Chair and being able to help implement great ideas/programs for our community.  My hope with this next election is to see a diverse representation of board members as I believe it is a key that will ensure all voices are heard and create great dialogue for collaboration.

Amanda Nelson photo

Amanda Nelson

I’m running for Uptown Planners because I want to see more bike lanes and more transportation options like we see going in downtown. I also want to help create more artwork in Uptown. I want to help address homelessness in Uptown by advocating for more affordable housing at all income levels as well as finding ways for more services. And yes, I do want to preserve the historical components of Uptown and the neighborhoods within it. I want to make sure we do have access to views but I also want to make sure that we have more housing, housing that is accessible to all income levels.

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Lu Rehling

Lu is an energetic optimist inspired to promote both Uptown’s community character and its greener, safer future. She believes responsible development means supporting new construction AND adaptive reuse of old buildings; additional options for mass or shared transit, pedestrians, cyclists, and alternative vehicles AND the reality of private cars; offsets for truly affordable housing AND the additional public amenities that more people require.

A recently retired writing professor (also with a career in industry) who loves city living, Lu moved into her historic Hillcrest home seven years ago. Her volunteer and professional service experiences prepare her to listen and collaborate effectively so that she can understand and represent the interests of everyone in our community: residents, property owners, and businesses. UPTOWN FOR ALL!

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Angela Sillmon

I truly love living in University Heights. I’m a fan of its walkability and easy access to great local shops, restaurants and parks. As the founder of Peacock Property Solutions, I help people turn distressed houses into eye-catching homes that help revitalize their community. My background in project management and consumer loans gives my insight into the ways individuals and neighborhoods thrive. I’m a tenacious problem solver and a successful motivator who inspires others to overcome obstacles while marching toward a common goal. I welcome a chance to bring these skills and a warm smile to the community dialog at Uptown Planners.

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Oscar Tavera

My name is Oscar Tavera, I currently live on the border of Hillcrest and Mission Hills. I moved to the neighborhood 4 years ago and fell in love with the walkability and vibrant scene. I am running for Uptown Planners because I have seen the impact the board has on local projects and how important their feedback is to the city.

I am a mechanical engineer and will use my experience to thoroughly review upcoming projects and provide the best response that improves the character of the neighborhood and respects the growth of the city. We have an amazing opportunity to attract new small businesses to our area, develop new housing that is available to everyone, and encourage infrastructure that is safe and efficient for all transportation methods.

I look forward to working with fellow board members on representing the community and making sure that our voices are heard.

Mat Wahlstrom

I am a business co-owner member of the Hillcrest Business Association and founder of RescueHillcrest.com, a group of neighbors and friends like you who care about where we live and concerned about our place in what’s happening in the world.

The impacts of climate change need to be seen and heard in our Community Planning Groups. But instead of advocating to preserve existing affordable housing and ensure that new housing is affordable, there are those who say the real problem is putting any brake on exploitive real estate speculation or protecting residents or businesses or nonprofit spaces from its consequences.

Uptown Planners was one of the original Community Planning Groups created in response to the decision-making on San Diego land use that ruled before the Political Reform Act — when developers and politicians met in smoke-filled rooms to agree which neighborhoods to bulldoze for highways.

We need fulfilling neighborhoods not landfills. Please vote for an #UptownForAll.